Tottenham 'mentality' questioned after half-time bust up as Newcastle pile pressure on

I'm not sure anyone knows how... but injury-hit Newcastle United are somehow in with a shot of finishing fifth in the Premier League as Tottenham Hotspur continue to sink like a stone just one place above them in the table.

Ange Postecoglou's side had grand hopes of winning the title early in the season, before turning their attention to a more realistic top four tilt. Now, with three games to go and four straight defeats to their name, Spurs are instead looking over their shoulder at a resurgent, powerful Newcastle.

Eddie Howe's side have found their form at the perfect time. Four wins from five leaves them just four points behind the north London outfit heading into their final trio of games, giving them minor hope of leapfrogging Tottenham. First Brighton at home, then Manchester United and Brentford on the road.

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Tottenham have slightly easier fixtures in the form of Burnley and Sheffield United, with Manchester City sandwiched in the middle. Postecoglou's side lost 4-2 at Anfield on Sunday, with Liverpool racing into a four-goal lead before Spurs put up a minor fight back.

The Australian coach tried to defend his players, and their mentality, after another heavy loss. "It's got to nothing to do [with mentality]," he said. "If you come to Anfield and don't try and play, maybe that shows you don't have the mentality.

"We tried to play, we definitely tried to play, so I don't think it's a mentality issue at all. In fact, I think it's the polar opposite of that. The mentality at least tonight was there for us to go out and try and be a version of ourselves. We're short absolutely but it gives me something to work with."

Tottenham duo Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal had to be separated by goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario after the half-time whistle as cracks continue to emerge in Postecoglou's camp. However, again, the boss tried to play down the in-game spat.

"I didn’t see it but it shows they care,” Postecoglou said on the matter. “It hurts them. They are not going to just be happy with the current situation because they care and they want to improve. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is constructive. They care and they want to change the situation.”

Howe, on the other hand, appears to be working with a very harmonious group at present. The Newcastle boss welcomed Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Nick Pope back into his matchday squad over the weekend, providing a much-needed boost at the business end of a gruelling campaign.